The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Civil War Veteran Noah Martin, 1837-1924

By Ivalien Hylton Belcher © 1985

Issue: July, 1985

Civil War Veteran Noah MartinNoah Martin with two of his children, Robert Martin (left) and Ethel Martin Hatcher (right). This photograph was taken in 1922.Noah Martin enlisted October 15, 1862 at Green Meadows. He was a member of Company D, 5th Regiment, Virginia Infantry.

Recently I discovered some interesting information about this Civil War veteran. He has three children still living. Now I know what you are thinking - that was so long ago that Noah Martin couldn't have any surviving children.

On May 13th, I visited his youngest daughter, Ethel Martin Hatcher. Ethel is 67 years old and lives near Stuart, Virginia. I know this is hard to believe, but there is a beautiful love story here.

The following is what Ethel remembered about her father plus a few memories of her mother.

"My father was born in Stokes County, North Carolina. Later he settled in the community of Charity, near Woolwine, Virginia. It was here that Father met my mother, Naomi Moran, of Floyd County.

The first time they met, Mother was going to the spring to get a bucket of water, and Father came walking up the road on his way to church. He asked her for a drink of water and Mother climbed up on the rail fence and gave him a drink. It was love at first sight. Mother stopped seeing the young fellow that she was courting and started going with Father. Soon after, they were married. Mother was 16 years old and Father was 65. When her previous fellow tried to talk Mother out of the marriage, she told him "I'd rather be an old man's darling than a young man's slave."

Later, Father and Mother moved from Charity to Fries, Virginia. I was born after they moved there. My mother always told me how good Father was to her. They had six children, I'm the baby. My sister Nannie Williams who is 82 lives in Richmond. Then there's my brother, the Rev. Clay Martin, who is 80 and lives in Fries. He still preaches.

I remember several things about my father even though I was only six years old when he passed away in 1924. Father always petted us and was real good. We had plenty of love. Father never did whip one, but I guess he should have. Mother always took care of the discipline in our family. If I thought she was going to whip me, I'd run to Father and he would hover over me. I will always remember how good Father was to us all.

I remember one incident that Father should have punished me for on the spot, but didn't. My brother Robert and I were digging in a bank of dirt near an old out house hole and filling a paper flour sack with the dirt. Father was afraid we would fall in the hole, but we paid him no mind. He took his cane and punched a hole in the bag and spilled our dirt. I've got a temper and I was mad about my dirt. I threw the shovel at Father and hit his hand. He didn't whip me, but Mother got me later.

Father was working in the cotton mill at Fries when he was 82 years old. Later he became disabled and Mother worked in the mill. Father stayed with us kids and took care of the whole family

Mother used to tell me how Father could sing. She would go to milk the cows and could hear Father singing back at the house. His voice would be ringing through the hills. She talked about his singing a lot. Evidently Father was a good singer.

The first automobile my father saw belonged to a doctor in Floyd County. Father said he saw something with nothing neither pushing or pulling. He stopped the man and asked him what it was. The Man said it was an automobile My mother told me this story in her later years.

Mother told me that Father remembered when President Lincoln was assassinated. They were in the barracks and an officer came and told them the President had been shot.

Father and Mother had a good life together in spite of the age differences. Mother told me many, many times how good Father was to her. They were married 22 years, 11 months and three days before Father passed away. Now my mother is gone, and memories linger on. My parents were hard working and gave us plenty of love. I'm very proud of the heritage that was passed on to me."